Since Tea Party protests became an influential movement on the national scene last year, the left in general and the liberal media in particular have tried (unsuccessfully) to render it irrelevant in the eyes of the American people. By throwing around accusations of racism and dire warnings of impending violence, these pundits have tried, unsuccessfully to undermine the movement.
University of Virginia Professor Gerard Alexander explored this trend more generally in yesterday's Washington Post poses the question, pondering, "Why Are Liberals So Condescending?" In his column, Alexander details four types of condescension widespread among the far-left and omnipresent in its talking points. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all four have been employed by left-leaning journalists to bash the Tea Party movement.
"American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives," Alexander writes, "appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration."
Over the weekend, poor and biased media reporting, dysfunctional politics, blindly ambitious activism, and economic ignorance fed on each other to produce a phenomenally false narrative that went out to hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. The result not only doesn't pass the smell test; it fails the stench test from a mile away.
The first origins of the activist narrative burst forth during Friday's PBS News Hour, when the network's Betty Ann Bowser opened her report on health care costs with two sentences that belong in the Sloppy Statement Hall of Shame (bold is mine):
Health care spending devoured 17 percent of the entire economy last year, about $2.5 trillion. That's the biggest one-year growth since record-keeping began in 1960, according to projections from the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, this week.
If you don't mind my asking -- What exactly is the "that" to which Ms. Bowser referred?
It's the central question of the health care debate to liberty-loving Americans: Where in the Constitution does our charter of government grant the federal government the power to make us buy health care (or make us buy anything, for that matter)?
But to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it's an illegitimate question. "Are you serious?!" she shot back at a CNSNews.com correspondent Matt Cover. Pelosi is not alone. Her friends in the liberal media also find the question ludicrous.
So Media Research Center video producer Bob Parks worked up a brief video that showcased how many in the liberal media see no constitutional problem with federal mandatory health care insurance.You can watch the video in the embed at right.
In stories currently carrying Friday afternoon and early Saturday time stamps, the Associated Press weighed in with supportive articles about Illinois Democrats who are desperately trying to convince Scott Lee Cohen (pictured at right; image is captured from his web site), who won the party's nomination for Lieutenant Governor, to step aside.
In the Friday afternoon's report ("Embattled Dem Ill. candidate won't step down"), AP reporter Karen Hawkins swallowed the line that "details had emerged" about Cohen's 2005 arrest on domestic battery charges, despite the fact that Cohen himself preemptively disclosed many of those details to Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mark Brown in March 2009 (link is to a cached copy of Brown's article that was posted at Cohen's campaign site). Brown apparently chose not to relay much of what Cohen revealed, but he clearly had a lot of it.
In an early Saturday item ("IL Gov. might want to run from his running mate"), the wire service's Deanna Bellandi owned up to the existence of the Sun-Times story and relayed the demands of several Illinois Democrats that Cohen withdraw.
Each reporter seemed to go out of her way to avoid mentioning the remaining candidates for the Republican Party's gubernatorial nomination, Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, who are currently locked in a razor-thin, currently undecided race.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez failed to mention the party affiliation of former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon on Friday’s Rick’s List program, but made every effort to identify former Congressman Tom Tancredo as a Republican. Sanchez ranked Tancredo higher on his “List You Don’t Want to Be On” for his remarks at the Tea Party Convention, despite Dixon’s conviction for illegally using donated gift cards for the needy.
The CNN anchor gave the number three and number two spots on his “List You Don’t Want to Be On” just before the top of the 4 pm Eastern hour. Sanchez chose Dixon as his number three, and gave a brief on her resignation from office and how she received two years probation for her crime. He didn’t mention her Democratic Party affiliation during his brief, nor was it mentioned in the accompanying on-screen graphic.
When the far-left finds a character to assassinate, it doesn't let facts get in the way. That, at least, is the lesson we can draw from the latest bout of liberal character assassination, this one aimed at James O'Keefe.
The slandering of his reputation has occurred mostly at Salon.com, the Village Voice, and an obscure hard-left organization called the One People's Project. Together, they have waged an all-out war on James O'Keefe's character by associating him with supposedly racist people and organizations. Just one problem: their claims are predicated on falsehoods, exaggerations, and assumptions (but mostly just falsehoods).
Max Blumenthal, who penned the Salon piece, and the stalwart non-journalists at OPP (the Village Voice, for its part, issued a mild retraction) alleged that O'Keefe had helped to organize a gathering of "anti-Semites, professional racists and proponents of Aryanism." They also claimed (and produced a cropped picture that could not possibly validate this claim) that O'Keefe had manned the literature table at the event.
CNN’s Carol Costello bizarrely claimed on Friday’s American Morning that the upcoming Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow and his mother is the “culmination of a brilliant marketing strategy by the anti-abortion movement... [which] has quietly found a way to rebrand itself as hip...and feminist.” Costello also misrepresented pro-lifers as people who regularly call women who abort “baby-killers.”
The correspondent made her claim at the beginning of her report: “Have you heard? Tim Tebow is doing an ad that will run in the Super Bowl. This morning, I’d like to actually step back from the issue itself and break it down another way. Some say this is the culmination of a brilliant marketing strategy by the anti-abortion movement. It has quietly found a way to rebrand itself as hip, modern, and- yes, feminist.”
After playing two clips from Gary Schneeberger from Focus on the Family, which paid for the Tebow ad, Costello noted that “[a]lthough the ad has inflamed some women’s groups, it’s a far different message than in years past, back when the politically-powerful Reverend James Dobson was Focus on the Family’s face.” The CNN correspondent singled-out a 2008 sound bite from Dobson, where he expressed his grief over the human toll of abortion: “It just grieves me greatly of how the blood of maybe 46, 48 million babies who have been aborted cries out to God from the ground.”
Check out the latest episode of NewsBusters’ Notable Quotables comedy show. Our news analysts give their take on the latest and most outrageous sound bites from the liberal media.
This week there was everything from MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann proclaiming the U.S. Supreme Court “murdered” democracy to CNN’s Rick Sanchez being unsure what the annual March for Life in Washington was all about.
To see the current episode in a larger size or to go back and watch past episodes, visit the Media Research Center’s video sharing website, Eyeblast.tv.
CNN's Jack Cafferty, during a commentary on Tuesday's Situation Room, fairly presented the results of recent "landmark" study which indicates abstinence-only sex education has better results than "safe sex" classes in preventing teenagers from having sex : "This just in: abstinence-only sex education might just work... [The] study...could have huge implications on the national debate over lowering teen pregnancy rates, as well as sexually-transmitted diseases."
Cafferty devoted his commentary 14 minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour to the study, which was published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine on Monday. After noting the results, that only "33 percent of sixth and seventh graders who took an abstinence-only program began having sex within two years," compared to "52 percent who were taught only about safe sex...[and] 42 percent who learned about both safe sex and abstinence," the commentator disclosed the Obama administration's decision to roll back funding of such abstinence studies. He continued by reporting the reactions from both sides of the sex ed debate: "Some call the abstinence research ‘game-changing,’ that it comes after years of getting a bad rap. But critics though say the curriculum in this study isn’t a good example of abstinence-only programs. They say the class studied didn’t take a moral tone. It encouraged teens to wait to have sex until they’re ready, not until they’re married; and it didn’t disapprove of condom use."
The left is up in arms over the Supreme Court's recent decision in "Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission". But few voices have been louder than those emanating from the echo chamber at MSNBC. It seems that the cable network's talking heads feel that their parent company, General Electric, deserves a special exemption to what should be a blanket ban on unrestricted corporate speech.
First a bit of background for those unfamiliar with the Supreme Court decision. The court struck down in a 5-4 ruling a ban on corporate (or union) spending on political speech specifically endorsing or attacking a candidate for office within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election. It ruled that the ban violated the First Amendment.
Few liberals seemed to notice that in attacking corporate speech they were also effectively undermining their own employers, media corporations who employs them for the express purpose of engaging in political speech. Surely Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow would defend MSNBC's right to speak (and spend) freely without interference from the federal government--especially in the run-up to an election when free speech is most important and must be protected.
If someone's going to play speech police, one might think it would be wise to make sure her own house was in order prior to hurling charges. But, for Arianna Huffington, editor of The Huffington Post, there are two sets of rules.
"Yes, well, first of all, there's a big distinction between who your anchors are, who are your employees and what they are saying and what your bloggers are saying," Huffington said. "And in our case, of course, what he said, what our blogger he was quoting said, was started by Roger, because he never called him a tumor. He said Fox was a tumor, on American society, which is a legitimate view that many people hold."
ABC on Tuesday devoted a fourth day of interviews to the John Edwards sex scandal and still failed to identify the ex-vice presidential nominee as a Democrat. After 67 minutes of coverage on two programs, the network has highlighted most of the salacious details of the Senator’s story, all while avoiding the D-word.
Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday talked to former Edwards aide Andrew Young and his wife, Cheri. Interviews with Mr. Young, who falsely claimed to be the father of what turned out to be Edwards’ love child, also appeared on Monday and Saturday.
On Monday, former Democratic operative turned journalist Stephanopoulos did not react well to Young's assertion that the campaign believed "all of the viable candidates had some type of skeleton in their closet." Stephanopoulos fretted, "That is a very serious charge." When Young tried to backpedal, the host complained, "You just said it."
Quoting from the film A Few Good Men, on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked openly gay Army Lieutenant Dan Choi if the U.S. military was prepared for the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy to be overturned by the Obama administration: “Older members of the military are not very interested in seeing this policy changed at all....Do you think the military can handle the truth?”
The policy, created by Bill Clinton’s administration in 1993, allows homosexuals to serve in the military as long as they do not publically come out. Choi, who is facing discharge from the Army for doing just that, replied to Smith’s movie reference: “Well, I think that there are some people in the military that might have grown up in a different era, and they have fear, obviously, with the change they might think that it’s too difficult for them....Don’t assume that because you might be uncomfortable or certain people might be uncomfortable that that translates to unprofessional or lack of discipline.”
Smith began the segment by proclaiming “the beginning of the end” of the policy as Defense Secretary Robert Gates began to reexamine it. A headline on-screen read: “Do Ask, Do Tell? Pentagon Plan To Be Unveiled Today.”
Agreed, this doesn't come as much of a shock. What's surprising is that Schultz said "almost".
Here's Schultz on his radio show Friday talking about meeting with Obama advisor David Axelrod at the White House the day before, along with fellow liberal radio host Bill Press and several other left-wing media types Schultz did not identify (click here for audio) --
SCHULTZ: First of all you walk into the White House, in the West Wing, and there are picture all over, I mean everywhere! Of President Obama! I mean, of his life in the first year as president of the United States. Now I don't know if that's the way it is with every president, but it was almost a shrine. I mean, well, here's a picture of Obama the president with his kids over here. There he is getting on Air Force One. Here he is with some military people. Here he is on the line working the line at one of his campaign stops. I mean, just, it was just one picture after another! (laughs)
On Saturday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Don Lemon deferentially took President Obama’s advice and interviewed a stimulus “skeptic” turned “believer,” whom the Democrat cited as an example of the success of the stimulus during his recent State of the Union address. Lemon talked up the stimulus and the Obama administration’s energy efficiency tax credit with his guest Alan Levin, whose company produces windows.
Before playing his taped interview with guest Alan Levin, CEO of Northeast Building Products, the CNN anchor played the relevant clip from the President Obama’s address: “Talk to the window manufacturer in Philadelphia, who said he used to be skeptical about the Recovery Act, until he had to add two more work shifts just because of the business it created.” After asking Mr. Levin if he was excited by this mention by the President, Lemon inquired about this previous skepticism: “You know what, here’s the interesting thing. You were skeptical about this process- about the stimulus. You weren’t exactly sure that it was going to get you the right people and help at all. And now?”
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith introduced a bizarre story designed to show how desperate the situation is for people lacking health insurance: “A California woman has launched a unique online search for a husband. Not for love, but for health care.”
Earlier, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased the story by proclaiming: “I don’t know if you would think it’s sad or if you would think it’s admirable – but it’s definitely a position no one wants to be in. It’s an extreme to get health insurance.”
Correspondent Randall Pinkston later reported on the situation:
45-year-old Terri Carlson says she does not care what you look like, she will marry you, but only if you have good health insurance....She is divorced and has one year left under cobra health coverage, but after that, she will have nothing to help pay for numerous doctors’ appointments and dozens of medications....[she] suffers from a rare genetic disorder....And because of her disorder, insurance companies have denied her coverage.
On Saturday, NB's Noel Sheppard reported on this statement made by Education Secretary Arne Duncan: "I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was hurricane Katrina. That education system was a disaster. It took hurricane Katrina to wake up the community and say we have to do better."
CNN host T.J. Holmes read that quote aloud during a broadcast. "Of course I agree" with Duncan's statement, said one guest, CNN contributor Steve Perry. The host and correspondents went back and forth about how the hurricane may or may not have helped public schools, never once impugning Duncan's motives.
Contrast this media response with the response to former Republican Congressman from Louisiana Richard Baker's statement regarding Katrina: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." It sparked outrage among the liberal media (h/t NRO's John Miller).
How can journalists possibly claim to be "objective" (in the Old Media, I-have-no-opinions sense of the term) when they get their news only from hyper-partisan sources on one side of the political spectrum? To do so should make any reporter blush.
But David Shuster, apparently, has no issue with undertaking such objective journalistic endeavors as "fact checking and analyzing", while gathering information from the left's most prominent online talking-point repositories.
Not content with simply relaying those talking points to his viewers, he makes sure to direct them (via Twitter) to websites where they can get their fills of the latest lefty banter. Johnny Dollar took the liberty of compiling a chart of the sites to which Shuster directed his Twitter followers throughout the month of January. The results are striking:
Verne Lundquist, closet Republican? The sports announcer got in a bit of good-natured trash talking while interviewing Pres. Obama during this afternoon's game between Duke and Georgetown in DC that PBO attended. In a basketball-politics double entendre, Lundquist asked the left-handed Obama "do you have any problems at all going to your right?"
When the president made his way to the announcers table during the second half, he, Lundquist and Clark Kellogg engaged in some b-ball banter. At the very end, an obviously nervous Lundquist hit PBO with his cheeky question.
At the top of Friday’s Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, the show announcer teased a story on President Obama speaking a meeting of House Republicans in Baltimore: “What will Republicans do with President Obama’s olive branch? He’s reaching out to the GOP yet again, despite a year of push backs and criticisms. Is he being naive or crazy like a fox?”
Moments later, host Dylan Ratigan made a biblical reference to explain Obama’s supposedly gracious gesture: “We begin today with a biblical story of Noah and the floods....he sent a dove....To look for dry land after a great flood had wiped out the Earth. The dove returned with an olive branch.” Ratigan then observed: “the President tried the same approach. Especially...with the Republicans.”
After playing a clip of the President calling for bipartisanship in the State of the Union speech, Ratigan argued: “So if the President thought that meant Republicans would start jumping onboard his boat? He thought wrong. They’ve taken his olive branch and are now using it to hit back against his agenda.”
On HLN’s Joy Behar Show on Thursday, Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg gave a racial explanation for Chris Matthews’ recent “I forgot he was black” remark about President Obama. Goldberg cracked that “this has been quite a year for the white man.” Behar replied, “Traumatic,” and Goldberg continued it was “traumatic in many ways because...you have to think before you speak” [audio clip from the segment are available here].
The HLN host brought up Matthews post-State of the Union comment during her interview of her colleague from The View. After playing the clip of the MSNBC host, Behar asked Goldberg, “What do you think he was driving at there? Because he’s a lefty- you know, he’s liberal, and he likes Obama. And yet, he says something stupid like that- you know, I forgot he was black. He would never say I forgot he was white if he was looking at Bush.”
Goldberg responded half-jokingly, “Well, white people- you know, this is- this has been quite a year for the white man.” After laughs both on and off-camera, Behar interjected, “Traumatic.” Her guest agreed and continued with her point:
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: “President Obama meets with GOP leaders as he tries to tackle the growing employment problem. Will it be a monologue or a dialogue?” White House correspondent Bill Plante later reported: “The President is also reaching out to Republicans today, speaking to the GOP House retreat. But it could be a tough crowd.”
In Plante’s report, only brief a clip of Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner was played, making Republicans seem unwilling to negotiate: “We’re not going to vote for things that we believe will hurt our country.” Plante concluded: “And the Republicans have already signaled that the President’s new temporary tax cut for small businesses is not where they’re going to find that common ground. So it may be a tough crowd indeed.” The brief Early Show segment made no mention of legitimate Republican criticism of President Obama’s own stubborn partisanship.
In contrast, on ABC’s Good Morning America, while correspondent Jon Karl referred to the House GOP as a “skeptical” and “hostile” audience, he also took the time to highlight Republican efforts to reach out to the administration: “Most Republicans in Congress doubt the President really wants to hear their ideas....Longtime Republican Frank Wolf says he’s written the White House several ideas on Homeland Security.” Karl asked Wolf about the letter: “So, you present these ideas to the White House and what happens?” Wolf replied: “Nothing. It’s like writing a letter to somebody and nobody ever answers.”
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs put the New York Times at the center of the ceremonious unveiling of his company's iPad tablet device, the implication was clear: this is the future of the news--or at least Jobs wants us to think it is. He stands to gain not only financially but politically as Apple becomes a major gatekeeper for information.
The news media industry itself is divided on whether e-readers like the iPad and the Amazon Kindle can revitalize the news business. Newspaper sales are, after all, at historial lows. Over 90 newspapers failed last year.
While there are scores of competing theories for why newspapers (and books to a lesser extent) are seemingly on the decline, a prominent and plausible one seems to be that they have lost control of their content. Aggregators like Google News have provided news consumers with faster, more reliable sources for news. The proliferation of the blogosphere has loosened Old Media's grip on that news.
The "Hardball" host today described the California Democratic senator as a "level-headed" "centrist," indeed the "true north of American politics" in a segment in which he showed Feinstein saying that President Obama reconsider the arrangements for the federal criminal trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in lower Manhattan:
On the soon-to-be canceled ‘It’s the Economy’ program on MSNBC on Thursday, co-host Contessa Brewer grilled Republican New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg on his calls to reduce out-of-control government spending: “Which programs are you willing to cut? Are you willing to tell schools, no money for you?” Gregg shot back: “What an absurd statement to make. And what a dishonest statement to make.”
Gregg called out Brewer for her unfair framing of the issue: “...nobody’s saying no money for schools....On its face you’re being fundamentally dishonest when you make that type of statement.” He went to explain the kinds of budget cuts he would make: “I would freeze discretionary spending, a real freeze, not a – not a freeze plus inflation. I would eliminate the T.A.R.P. money....I would end the stimulus spending effective in June of this year, if not sooner....reform our entitlement programs....I’ve made very specific proposals and I’m willing to stand by them.”
Gregg was far from finished, he described the big government mentality shared by the Obama administration and the liberal media: “The problem is that this administration’s view of governance is that economic prosperity is created by growing the government dramatically. And then it gets misrepresented by people like yourself who say they’re going to – that if you do any of this stuff you’re going to end up not funding education.”
During CNN’s post-State of Union coverage on Wednesday night, three liberal commentators- Paul Begala, James Carville, and Roland Martin- put up an energetic defense of President Obama’s rebuke of the Supreme Court during the address. Begala and Carville took issue with Republican panelist Alex Castellanos’s reproof of the President, while Martin rebuked Justice Samuel Alito’s reaction.
Anchor Wolf Blitzer played a clip of the relevant portion of the President’s speech, where Mr. Obama condemned the Court for its recent decision on campaign finance regulations, and highlighted how Justice Alito shook his head and mouthed “not true” in response. Blitzer then turned to the panel for its take on the moment. His fellow anchor Campbell Brown, who was moderating the panel, first questioned Castellanos on Alito’s reaction: “Was that appropriate, Alex Castellanos, to have that kind of reaction from Alito when he said that?”
Immediately following President Obama’s State of the Union address Wednesday night, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos got reaction from Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, who observed: “There were at least three moments where he expressed explicit humility. ‘I’m not – I know that people aren’t sure I can deliver this change. I take my share of the blame for not explaining health care.’”
At the same time, both Stephanopoulos and Meacham agreed that Obama’s speech was Reaganesque. Stephanopoulos argued: “What I saw there is the President not being contrite like Bill Clinton in 1995, much more defiant, more like Ronald Reagan in 1983.” Meacham replied: “There was a lot of Reagan here.”
On NBC’s Today on Thursday, Matt Lauer cited Obama’s “humility” to press former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on Republicans not supporting the President’s agenda: “...you said about the President quote, ‘if he does show humility and does try to find common ground, there are Republicans who will sign up for that.’ He showed humility....will you now get behind this president and will other Republicans?” Bush rejected the notion that Obama was humble: “I don’t think it’s humble to say that you didn’t communicate a message and that’s the reason why people opposed the health care plan in front of Congress right now by a dramatic margin.”
The Associated Press on Wednesday insinuated there might be a wider conservative plot behind James O’Keefe’s alleged misdeeds at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, and invoked the Watergate scandal in their lede: “Was it an attempt at political espionage? Or just a third-rate prank? How high did it go? And what did the right wing know and when did they know it?”
In what some Democrats are calling the “Louisiana Watergate,” four young conservative activists — one of them a known political prankster — were arrested this week and accused of trying to tamper with the telephones in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office.
But two days after their arrest, neither the FBI nor federal prosecutors would say what the defendants were up to or whether they were part of some larger conspiracy....